A LANDSCAPE VISION
The Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area is a broad and continuously evolving cultural landscape where both natural and historic resources are valued as character-defining features and as physical manifestations of the past. Individual landscapes within Freedom’s Way are also cultural landscapes, shaped by a combination of natural and human forces over time.
Its history can be read through the land and the imprints of human habitation and influence on the region. Throughout much of the heritage area, natural and cultural areas are intimately blended; forests, topography and rivers combine with settlement patterns to create a rich landscape of historic city and town centers, scenic roadways, agricultural ensembles and conservation properties.
Shaped by rivers and their associated valleys and wetlands, Freedom’s Way is a landscape of subtle beauty that has inspired consecutive generations of writers, philosophers, visionaries and experimenters.
Within its boundaries is Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau lived from 1845 to 1847, considered the birthplace of the American conservation movement. Building upon that legacy, the region includes nearly twenty-five percent permanently protected conservation land (easements, public and conservation trust ownership) including three national wildlife refuges and twenty-one state parks, forests and other state-level public recreation areas.
With a strong focus on history and cultural landscapes, the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area assists local and regional conservation partners in appreciating the cultural history of their properties and how that history shapes planning and decision making.
STEWARDSHIP: PRESERVING A SENSE OF PLACE
Stewardship is fundamental to the mission of the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area. The region has a long and rich history of community planning, preservation and conservation initiatives.
Using a cultural landscape approach and methodology to enhance the quality of life by supporting and assisting local planning agencies, governments, and nonprofit partners, the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area promotes a shared vision and place-based identity.
Fundamental to this goal is enhancing community character and sustainability, protecting special resources, strengthening local economies and enhancing the local quality of life.
In the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area stewardship focuses on land conservation, historic preservation and regional agriculture.